Italy Starts 2020 Announces Winners of Best Start-Up Business Plan

Green Phoenix

First Place Winner Green Phoenix

John Cabot University held the 4th Edition of Italy Starts, a Peer-to-Peer Entrepreneurship Mentoring Program, for the first time completely in remote. This program is normally held in-person at JCU, but in true entrepreneurial spirit, the challenges presented by the Covid-19 emergency were met with an innovative response. This year, a record number of 65 high school student Mentees from 8 high schools in Rome, Pomezia, and Venice worked with 23 JCU student Mentors on developing and proposing a Business Plan within the theme of the Environment.

Italy Starts 2020 Second Place Winner Sover

Italy Starts 2020 Second Place Winner Sover

JCU Professors whose students acted as Italy Starts Mentors were Professors Alina Sorgner (BUS/EC 336 Entrepreneurial Ecosystems), Ieva Jakobsone Bellomi (MGT 301 Principles of Management, BUS 330 International Business), and Gina Siddu Pilia (BUS 342 Leadership, Mindfulness, and Emotional Intelligence).

First Place Prize (€ 500) goes to Green Phoenix based on originality, impact, and effort

Second Place is shared by Sover and BioCar based on innovation and future potential

Special Mention goes to Garbage-ly for dedication and mission

Italy Starts 2020 Second Place Winner BioCar

Italy Starts 2020 Second Place Winner BioCar

During this 5-week program, 26 March-23 June (recognized for 40 hours of PCTO* credits), students were divided into teams of 10-11 Mentees and 2-4 Mentors. Guided by their Mentors, Mentees learned through hands-on activities, important skills required in the process of developing a Business Plan for a Start-Up. Key elements included:

What is a startup?
Developing a Business Model Canvas and Value Proposition
Pricing, business costs, and prototyping
Marketing, target markets and segmentation
Pitching and final slide deck

In their feedback on the project, Group 2 commented,


Italy Starts Special Mention Garbage-ly

“The aim and effectiveness of the project was a great idea. It offered JCU students an opportunity to test their managerial skills, as well as a way for them to gain first-hand experience in handling a project and directing a team. Italian High School students had an opportunity to collaborate with their seniors, develop their entrepreneurial skills, and learn directly from people who are only a couple of years older than them but are at a completely different stage in their lives.”

One of the 65 high school mentees commented,

“I appreciated that our creativity was valued a lot to solve problems and to launch our idea. The Mentors were amazing, they were really engaged with the project and they could always spark our curiosity and stimulate us to do better. Their task was not easy, because most of us didn’t know a thing about startups and business before this course. Also, they didn’t just tell us everything they knew in a long lesson, but they preferred to ask us questions to help us understand by ourselves.  I think this method is the best because it requires attention and dedication to the project.”

Italian high schools that participated in Italy Starts 2020:

IIS Blaise Pascal, Pomezia
Liceo Benedetto da Norcia, Rome
Liceo Classico ed Europeo “M. Foscarini,” Venice
Liceo Classico Kant, Rome
Liceo Giordano Bruno, Rome
Liceo Scientifico Morgagni, Rome
Liceo Scientifico I. Newton, Rome
Scuola San Giuseppe al Casaletto, Rome

JCU’s Institute for Entrepreneurship (IFE) and Activities for High Schools Program thank all the participants for their outstanding performance and the JCU faculty that supported them. Special thanks go to Ms. Costanza Cicero, IFE Assistant, who set up the project on the online platform.

The theme of the environment was selected this year for its urgent relevance as well as for its coincidence with the theme of JCU’s Italy Reads 2020-2021, Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring, a catalyst for environmentalism.

Find out more about Italy Reads.

Find out more about the Institute for Entrepreneurship.

Find out more about Activities for High Schools at JCU or Attività per le Scuole.

(*)PCTO Percorsi per le Competenze Trasversali e per l’Orientamento (Experiential Learning)